Monday, June 4, 2018

Night of Terror, The Maniac and Suspended Animation

Pre-code Hollywood!  Risque at the time (the 1930s), but this era of cinema now seems quite tame. In 1933's "Night of Terror," in which Bela Lugosi actually plays the good guy, one may ask why this film is classified as pre-code.  Sure it came out in 1933, but usually the pre-code qualifier suggests partial nudity or women traipsing around in undies.  None here though...but wait! Perhaps the Harvey Weinstein scandal may offer some clues as the lovely Sally Blane is sexually harassed unmercifully, grabbed, and put in much peril.
A maniac (Edwin Maxwell) jumps into a convertible occupied by two young lovers who are necking.  He slashes both of them to death.  These unfortunates bring his kill total to 12 and now he escapes through the woods to the Rinehart Estate.  At the Rinehart mansion, Arthur (George Meeker), a mad scientist to be, is conducting experiments in suspended animation. Arthur is engaged to the Rinehart daughter, Mary (Blane). Uh oh, Blane is sucking face with a reporter in the back of a limo. Her kissing partner? Tom (Wallace Ford), a fun chap. Where Tom treated Mary to a date and a movie, Arthur implored her to stay home and read the stirring book Adams Life Among the Fossils. Like many of today's A-list actresses, Mary pretends to be offended by Tom's advances.
Okay, the maniac goes right to work.  He begins murdering Rineharts'. First Mary's dad (Tully Marshall) gets knifed. The trusted servant, Degar (Lugosi) acts as Mary's protector, as does clairovoyant maid Sika (Mary Frey). They both adore Mary. Cold fish Arthur, ignoring the danger goes forward with his experiment which will have himself buried in a grave for eight hours. Useless dolt! As the maniac goes through Rineharts' like crap through a goose, Sika conducts a seance hoping for answers. She'll get a sharp answer in the form of a knife in her back. As Mary becomes the object of the killer's quest, Tom rushes back to the mansion to plant more kisses on the blonde beauty.
Can the amorous Tom save Mary from the maniac and her weird mad scientist wannabe fiance? Will Mary ever be honest with herself and give into her lusts?  Exactly who is this maniac? As far as the maniac'll hear plenty from him. Sally Blane's portrayal of a blonde tease may speak some uncomfortable words to today's hyper-sensitive climate coming out of Hollywood.  For a politically incorrect view of a modern news story, enjoy "Night of Terror," directed by Benjamin Stoloff.

1 comment:

  1. Nice one, Harvey was born in the wrong century. Think I recall you mentioning this movie a few months back.